The Importance of rest – Finding out the hard way.

We all try to push ourselves to the limit sometimes. When we get an idea in our head or a goal there is something in your mind that just wont stop. The excitement to go and make it can overcome us and leave us blind to the damage we may be causing ourselves.

I wish this was work! or school! Or anything I haven’t been arsed to do in the past. Had I had the focus I have now when I was younger, my life would have been very different. I don’t know how, but surely it would have been different. Maybe I would have achieved more, been in a better financial position and even owned my very own nutribullet. Dreams.

But we have now to better ourselves, there is no other time. As my dad always used to say “I wish that id known what I know now, when I was younger”, or was that Rod Stewart? To be fair it could have been both, the Rod never ended in our car journeys in the old silver BMW of my childhood. Kicking the back of the chair for it to stop, only to find myself listening to the same songs 20 years later. Thank you Rod…and Dad.

Anyway, my point is that we are still learning every day, from our experiences, successes and failures, in our relationships (so many lessons), work life, play life and journey to becoming a real human person. So don’t fret too much if you are still finding your way, a lightbulb will go off at some point and you will make the right decision. Take it from me, probably too old to be making mistakes, but still being confused as hell when it all falls apart.

25 Examples of Confused Animals 7.jpg

The Aches and that

So I had been going pretty heavy on the gym time. The more I went the more energy I had, sometimes I could go 7 times a week like a maniac. But over time as I started to make gains in my muscle mass, I felt more and more lethargic and achy, like I just didn’t have the energy or the drive to get up and go smash those weights.

You feel bad about missing which makes you feel even more down! Cant really win! But when you do go you feel like you aren’t putting in 110% and this is just sad. Sad face. You don’t want this as it is in this state of mind that you may fall out of love with it. The endorphins and testosterone aren’t pumping like it should and you just end up fading into the gym, then exiting through a wall like an old Edwardian ghost.

I started looking into what I should do. The one glaring point was rest, all the time people going on about how great rest is. I didn’t like the idea as I had time on my hands and this hobby is something I enjoyed planning my day around. Come on I am healthy, eat…okay, over excitable kind of guy, F rest. I decided to go 5 days a week, and take weekends off.

But then after about 3 weeks of feeling tired and run down, I changed the placement of my rest days, not packing it into 5 weekdays then weekends off like I had tried before. Maybe take a Tuesday off? or a Wednesday, It didn’t matter, Just when I was tired. And it worked, such a simple little change made such a big difference to my energy levels, muscle recover and general mood.  Really refreshing me and aiding my gains. but how?

Why rest tho?

Go on, have a rest. Sleep man, as much as your world allows you to. If you don’t rest your body takes all the strain as it doesn’t get the chance to recuperate and help you rebuild you muscle tissue which has been overworked by the unrelenting workouts you have gone through. Here’s why!

  • Decrease energy levels
  • Decrease testosterone Levels
  • Decrease hormone growth levels
  • Increase catabolic (muscle destroying) hormones

Apart from just feeling haggered all the time. You will not be able to gain muscle, if this is the reason you are hitting the gym every day, then you are basically wasting your time. Just give in and get some roids or something…joking. These are built up in sleep so get MORE! Go on, you have an excuse now.

Something to remember is that you only build muscle when not at the gym. It comes along when you are sleeping or resting, using the food you eat and your chemistry to decide if your gunna wake up super skinny in the morning, or keep those gains. If you spend every minute in the gym increases the risk of injury also due to the strain it puts on your muscles and nervous system.

Well what to do?

Try to design a weight training program the allows one day of rest in between each weight training workout, and never train the same muscle group on two consecutive days. Be smart, if you can split up a couple of days between doing your biggest weight sets for chest of back for example, then do, your body had built back the fuel it needs to help you hit the biggest weights and ultimately smashing your Personal bests!

Experts say you should rest each day in-between each workout, so go 3 days a week and have a day off in-between. But everyone is different, I am able to go 4 or 5 days a week with a couple of days off in-between and maintain my energy levels and feel invigorated when I leave the gym. So what works for one may not work for another. Try a few different ways before settling on how much you need. Sometimes you may just need more, being human you may just be tired one day from life and that.

Few tips:

Sleep 8 hours a night – I know its hard, I am at my most awake after 9pm and sleepiest between 8am and 8:59pm. But this apparently is what your body needs to aid your recovery.

No physical activity late on – Yeah I’m not sure about this one, because err, knocking boots and that. So try and do the dirty about 3 hours before your off to sleep if you can. If not, err…there is no advice I can give you here, if you know, please please tell me.

No eating late – Try to eat before 7 and not after, another hard one with everyday life and especially if you are on a weight gain diet like me. Stick to light stuff with loads of protein if you have to, just a simple shake or something

Get A sleeping schedule – Another hard one that I have had to work to get into, going to sleep about 11 and up at 7 every day. It can take time for you body to adjust as I am a night owl but over time I am settling into it and feeling the benefits
So yeah! That’s basically it! Overall do what works for you. Try a week with more rest and push yourself extra hard at the gym to see if you are improving. But have fun! Training exhausted isn’t fun, so what’s the point!

If you aint having a good time, you are wasting your time – RZA










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